Today the Danish Council of Ethics and the Danish Board of Technology publishes a discussion paper aiming at creating awareness and debate on synthetic biology
Back in the spring of 2010 researchers around the world were excited when the American biologist and geneticist, J. Craig Venter, revealed that he and his team had succeeded in "creating artificial life". They had produced an artificial bacteria in a laboratory.
The artificial bacteria was produced using synthetic biology. A rapidly growing field of research has emerged as an evolution and convergence of various sciences such as molecular biology and nanotechnology. There are great expectations to the potential of synthetic biology in relation to medicine manufacturing, curing diseases, and to address the world's food challenges. The trend also raises ethical questions about risks, uncertainties, priorities and about our relation to nature.
DISCUSSION PAPER ON synthetic biology - The Danish Council of Ethics, has in collaboration with the Danish Board of Technology, prepared a discussion paper to raise awareness and generate debates on synthetic biology. Read the discussion paper - in Danish only (pdf)
In April, 2010, the Danish Council of Ethics established a working group to untangle the ethical issues which syntethic biology was thought to bring along. In collaboration with the Danish Board of Technology the Council has produced a discussion paper, which aims to create awareness and debate on synthetic biology.
"I think there are many who are uncertain about the fact that it is now possible to "build with life". We are at the same time drawn towards the perspectives of the technology, and also on guard. Does artificial organisms behave themselves, according to what the researchers expect? Or is this about human arrogance, when we believe that we with any certainty say anything about where the technology will make it possible to achieve? These are legitimate concerns, but we must remember that also opt can have costs - and therefore it is important that we get a public debate on the topic", says the Chairman of the Danish Council of Ethics' working group on synthetic biology, professor Gunna Christiansen, who personally believes that there is more to look forward to than to fear.
Read the discussion paper (in Danish only) published by the Danish Council of Ethics and the Danish Board of Technology
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